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PCRF project echoes virotherapy research success

28 May 2015

A recent report of a clinical trial which used a modified cold sore virus to treat skin cancer is welcome news, but did you know that your support is helping us fund world class research in this area too?

The idea of using viruses to enter and kill cancerous cells has been gathering pace for several years, and many scientists  believe that the widely reported results of the skin cancer clinical trial provide further evidence that this approach could be useful against other cancers too. 

Dr Yaohe Wang, from Barts Cancer Institute is conducting virotherapy research which is showing great promise in both killing pancreatic cancer cells and boosting the natural immune response to prevent the disease recurring. We reported his research results in December 2014 here, which were published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research

Whilst this study was performed on mice, Dr Wang is confident that he is close to being able to take his research forward to clinical trials.

He said: “Virotherapy is an exciting approach to treating cancer and the skin cancer clinical trial results show that it definitely has potential both to kill cancer cells and boost the immune system in patients. Our own research is modifying the Vaccinia virus to specifically target pancreatic cancer, and we’re seeing interesting results – some groups of mice in our tests survived for double the time of the control group and when we reintroduced pancreatic cancer cells into these mice, the cancer was cleared completely.

"We are moving towards designing a clinical trial and are hopeful that we can make progress with pancreatic cancer, as new treatments are urgently needed.”

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